journalist traveling the world, uncovering one hidden gem at a time

24, a year to focus on goals and dreams

24, a year to focus on goals and dreams

Alas, I’m 24. Still not old enough to receive car rental discounts or to hold political office, but I’m another year older, nonetheless.

Birthday week (well, now it’s starting to feel more like birthday month, ha!) is coming to a close. The fireworks were just as great this year and the company was hopping. So it was a wonderful start to being 24.

After so many birthday wishes from you guys on Facebook and Instagram, I’ve decided to outline a few travel and personal goals that I would like to complete in the next year. Some are new and scare me, others are activities I’ve done before and I’m aching to try again, the rest are items that are on my bucket list and that I desperately what to check off!

1. Plan my honeymoon!

I got engaged in March and we’re hoping to tie the knot in June 2018. Yes, cue the wedding bells! My fiance and I are thinking about staying in the United States and planning a road trip. We both love camping and hiking. There a few areas I’m dying to see, but leave your suggestions in the comments below — we just might head there!


2. Go scuba diving

I nearly did this in Puerto Rico last year but opted to go snorkeling instead, which didn’t disappoint. This year I’m island hopping in the Caribbean and hope to scuba dive while I’m at the United States Virgin Islands.

3. Go whitewater rafting

As an adrenaline junkie, this is something that’s been on my bucket list for a very long time!

4. Buy a new camera for travel photos

Sometimes an iPhone just doesn’t cut it. As a freelance journalist and an avid photography nut, I’m all about high-quality photos. I’m just looking for something small and compact, maybe a GoPro so I can shoot underwater footage.

5. Take a road trip in the United States

This is on my bucket list every year and every year it’s fabulous! I roadtripped to Tennessee, Colorado and northern Minnesota this past year. Check out my Instagram to see all my roadside shenanigans!

6. Go camping with friends more often

One of the best ways to relax in Minnesota is in a tent and on the lake. It’s even better with loved ones and friends.


7. Learn another foreign language

I’m fluent in English and sub par at Spanish. I’d like to learn introductory phrases in Danish or French, though.

8. Travel to five new countries

This is a given for a travel addict. More countries means more vacations and making memories. I wouldn’t mind the additional stamps in my passport either!

9. Visit another continent

So far I haven’t ventured outside of North America and the Caribbean. I’m looking to venture to Europe or South America next.


10. Hike, again, in the rain forest

On my favorite pastimes is hiking. And the rain forest in Puerto Rico stole my heart. I would build a secluded bungalow in a rainforest and live in it if I could. So I’d love to hike while I’m in the Caribbean again this year. Those lush, rainforest panoramas give me an intense wanderlust itch!

11. Print off and frame more travel photos

In the digital age, this isn’t done enough. I love to cherish all my travels and, let’s be honest, as a thriftaholic, I had a problem with buying too much antique picture frames. Better put both of my addictions to a good use.

12. Start creating my Puerto Rico travel scrapbook

Again, get my photos off the web and it’s time to get my crafting pants on. (No, literally, I have crafting pants!) I want to combine my journaling skills and photos into one book that highlights my best moments abroad. If the scrapbook turns out, stay tuned for a blog post.

13. Buy more notebooks for my travel journals

I recently started keeping travel journals and it’s an honest and true representation of how I felt during all my travels. Though my handwriting is atrocious, I love looking back and rereading my first impressions of landmarks and views that I witness. You can even check them out — don’t worry, I’ve decoded my chaotic scribble that sprawls across the page for you.

14. Grow my blog and social media audience

I love what I do, and I’m not ashamed of it! I want to infect more people with the travel itch and chronic wanderlust. This year I’ll aim to up my Twitter game.


15. Swim in another tropical waterfall

It’s the most serene and grounding experience. Especially if it’s just you and not having to share that cool pool with anyone. I want to discover more hidden waterfalls and reflect more in the upcoming year.

16. Plan an international trip for 2018

I’m thinking Central America or Europe!

17. Travel more with girlfriends

I often travel solo or with my fiancé, but I’d love to start jetsetting with my girlfriends more often. Our lives are so chaotic, but I cherish these ladies and want to explore the world with them! The last girls’ vacation I took was to Colorado.

18. Take my dad on a vacation

He works so hard and never ventures away from home. I want to take him on a week vacation for Christmas somewhere. Leave your suggestions below!

19. Visit a national park I’ve never been to before

National parks are the best, hidden gems. They’re little slices of paradise that have remained untouched over the age of time. I’ve visited 14 so far, looking to add a few more to the list.


20. Watch more sunrises and sunsets

Sometimes we take the little things for granted. Like ignoring at the flora and fauna that the line the hiking trail and holding out for the grand vista at the end of the trail. My grandmother is an avid bird watcher and loves to watch the hummingbirds feed off the plants in the backyard, that brings her immense joy. I want to be more like that. Take note of the little things and be grateful.

21. Go surfing

My sister lives in an ocean-front condo in North Carolina, so I love riding the waves when I visit her. Hoping to get a little better this year and be able to successfully ride the waves and not always fall off my board, ha!

22. Canoe/kayak in northern Minnesota

I didn’t fall in love with kayaking until last year when I went kayaking on Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was so serene and I’ve never felt more like an explorer. Maybe that should be my new job title, Martha Exploring Kayaker. It has a nice ring to it.

23. Do something that scares me

Probably something that involves birds, just kidding! (If you don’t know, I’m deathly afraid of birds..) Too often people fall into the safe zone or a rut and I don’t want that to happen. I’m all for living big and being scared shitless to make yourself feel alive. Maybe skydiving should be my next scary activity…

24. Take a city vacation

I love to experience nature. If I could uproot my life and become a jungle woman, I would! Because of my love affair with landscapes and breathtaking vistas I forget the wonderful adventures I can experience in cities. This year I hope to venture to a city and experience it like a local. Check out the best coffee joint and where everyone sneaks off to get cocktails after work.


Realistically, I’ll probably only complete about 75 percent of this list, and that’s being optimistic. Regardless, I want this upcoming year to be filled with memories and to look back and feel blessed because of all the people and opportunities I’ve experienced over the year.

Here’s to being 24!

Feel like reminiscing? Check out my year 23 post! 



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